This group discusses the practical applications of the theosophical philosophy and the therapeutics of the wisdom of the ages.
The art of living study group intends to discuss the relevance and connection of theosophical ideas to the challenges and hurdles of daily life. This group will focus on the ethical issues, psychological challenges and artistic applications of theosophy to the daily round and the common task. While the other three groups freely move back and forth between the universal and the particular, the theoretical and the practical, this group will make an attempt to stay focused on the practical side of the art of living equation.
Weekly Theme for Contemplation: Nature, Woman and Man
March 11, 2017 at 8:47 am #5135
Theme for Contemplation: Nature, Woman and Man
“Real affinities involve the most delicate tuning of the subtlest vibration in one’s
being to the rhythm of the noumenal cosmos reflected in myriad ways in visible
— Aquarian Almanac
The topic ‘Weekly Theme for Contemplation: Nature, Woman and Man’ is closed to new replies.
Art of Living Study Group
ModeratorTN March 13, 2017 at 6:51 pm #5148
March 13, 2017 Theme for Contemplation:Nature, Woman and Man
When we look outside of that on which we depend, we ignore our unity; looking
outward we see many faces; look inward and all is the one head. — PLOTINUS
In time Unity will perfect the spaces,
And in Unity each one will attain himself.
— EVANGELIUM VERITATIS
Discovery of Uranus (Herschel) 1781
Grace Cunningham March 16, 2017 at 3:09 pm #5166
I was reflecting on the comment made in the Gita in Chapter thirteen. Krishna says the true wisdom of a spiritual kind (Judge edition) is a number of things and a list is given. One of the items in the list is “exemption from self-identifying attachment for children, wife and household….” I am assuming wife also means husband. When we try to love those around us there is the unfailing mistake of seeing one’s own husband or one’s own children as more important than others in our lives. We see them as special. At least to us. To try to love those around us is no doubt a noble thing and part of the altruism injunction of theosophy. How do we do this without falling into the trap of “self-identifying attachment”?
Ramprakash ML March 17, 2017 at 8:34 am #5185
“Self-identifying attachment for wife, children, and household” is very natural for all of us, though we study Theosophy. There are various degrees of such self-identifying attachment–from the grossest kind, of such feeling of possessiveness as my wife, my child, as if we own them, to a certain degree of dispassion born of deep philosophic study and reflection that we are all souls, not bodies, come together in this life by past affinities to workout our respective Karmic destiny. Yet, in the latter case there will be certain attachment, though not of the former kind. In the life of Mr.Judge–though a Sage that he was–it is said that he and his wife felt a deep sense of loss of the child they had lost by death. Loss of a loved one has a certain personal element in it, and we cannot be free from it altogether–unless we become unfeeling monsters, and that we cannot, being human.
The former kind–the selfish feeling of possessiveness–born of ignorance, is problematic. Many a family problem of interrelationships stem from this gross kind of self-identifying attachment.
ModeratorTN March 14, 2017 at 5:54 pm #5152
March 14, 2017 Theme for Contemplation: Nature, Woman and Man
The union of the mathematician with the poet, fervour with measure, passion
with correctness, this surely is the ideal. — WILLIAM JAMES
Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved
by understanding. — ALBERT EINSTEIN
Johann Strauss 1804
Albert Einstein 1879
barbara March 14, 2017 at 9:29 pm #5156
“Is it possible love another individual unconditionally yet still not become attached?”
Pierre pointed out that attachment stems from identification of the perceiver with the object of perception. With this in mind, I wonder if the clue lies in identify of the perceiver (or the self); for instance, we know the sun gives life to all, yet asks for nothing in return. After providing food to every creature in the universe, it does not cling on to a willow tree any more than to an oak or any other. Similarly, when we become more “impersonal” the quality of attachment in our life diminishes as well.
- This reply was modified 3 years, 6 months ago by barbara.
barbara March 17, 2017 at 4:02 am #5175
“So what you are saying is to model our love after the sun. Give without demanding or requiring anything in return. How do we test ourselves to determine if we are moving in that direction or in the opposite where attachment comes in?”
I think it gets obvious when our sense of “self” lessens. We become incapable of taking things “personally”. It is very similar to when we love someone “unconditionally” we remove “our” expectations, “our” conditions, “our” wants and appreciate and love the person as he/she is. All these involve putting our ego aside till it fades into the background.
Pierre Wouters March 14, 2017 at 10:29 pm #5159
Barbara, I think you just provided the answer yourself. Using the Sun as an example is a very good correspondence. Perhaps the solution lies in the division of our sevenfold constitution. Three higher or noetic principles (solar) and 4 psychic or lower principles (lunar). Attachment as we understand it in terms of kamic attractions apply perhaps only to the lower four (including kama-manas). The three higher may then perhaps refer to unity rather than attachment in the conventional sense, so that unity (although it unifies) does not cling or identify with its object of perception. It may very well be that unity in itself has also different gradations of unification, just as there are gradations of kamic attachments.
The antaskaranic bridge (lower manas per se), becomes then the transition path where we divest ourselves gradually from these kamic attachments, or in other words, the purification of kama leads to true unification with the perception, i.e., subject and object become one, whereas with attachment there is still the duality of perceiver and perceived. I’m trying to be flexible here 🙂
Ramprakash ML March 15, 2017 at 10:53 am #5161
Attachment also means affinity and its opposite aversion or antipathy. As Pierre says attachment is a powerful binding force that imprisons the Perceiver with the objects of sense–physical. Astral and Spiritual– from the grossest level to subtler levels upto the very door step of Nirvana.
If we have aversion for anything or anybody or any circumstance, then we become attached to the very same thing we detest. As Judge says, aversion is attachment by opposite. As the Light on the Path says, to the effect, the soiled garment you shrink from may have been yours yesterday or may be yours tomorrow, and that the more you run away from it, will it be thrown around your shoulders the more closely, till you realize that you the truth that Self is All, good and bad alike. The sin and the shame of the world is the sin and shame of every one of us. The vices we see around us in our fellowmen are present as seeds right in us, requiring only the right kind of conditions to sprout and show forth.
Attachment and aversion is the same thing as Bias. Asavas, as they call it in Pali.
To live in the world without attachment or aversion for anythiing is difficult. But we may try. To try, and keep on trying, is our duty
ModeratorTN March 15, 2017 at 7:40 pm #5163
March 15, 2017 Theme for Contemplation: Nature, Woman and Man
Beholding beauty with the eye of the mind, he will be enabled
to bring forth not images of beauty, but realities. — PLATO
The power of one fair face makes my love sublime, for it has
weaned my heart from low desires. — MICHELANGELO
Julius Caesar d. 44 B.C.E.
Odin TownleyParticipantOdin Townley March 16, 2017 at 6:11 am #5164
Krishna, in the open lines of Chapter 4 addresses Arjuna as his “favorite disciple.” In so doing, can Krishna be indulging in the personal attachment of which he so often warns Arjuna?
“This exhaustless doctrine of Yoga I formerly taught unto Vivasvat; Vivasvat communicated it to Manu and Manu made it known unto Ikshvaku; and being thus transmitted from one unto another it was studied by the Rajarshis, until at length in the course of time the mighty art was lost, O harasser of thy foes! It is even the same exhaustless, secret, eternal doctrine I have this day communicated unto thee because thou art my devotee and my friend.”
Pierre Wouters March 16, 2017 at 5:56 pm #5171
“Krishna, in the open lines of Chapter 4 addresses Arjuna as his “favorite disciple.” In so doing, can Krishna be indulging in the personal attachment of which he so often warns Arjuna?”
Interesting question Odin, and that would certainly be true if Krishna would be the anthropomorphic god that some may claim him to be. However, neither Krishna nor Arjuna, from a metaphysical perspective, represent an individual personality. Arjuna represents – besides humanity as a whole – especially those individuals that are in search of something greater than their own personal selves, so from that perspective Krishna is warranted in seeing Arjuna as his favorite because the “Krishna” or spiritual aspect and drive towards unity in Arjuna has “actively” (by degrees) been awakened, whereas in humanity in general it is dormant and as such they can’t respond to Krishna’s call. Arjuna thus represents “Fortune’s favorite soldier” in his quest for enlightenment.
barbara March 17, 2017 at 3:50 am #5174
“Krishna, in the open lines of Chapter 4 addresses Arjuna as his “favorite disciple.” In so doing, can Krishna be indulging in the personal attachment of which he so often warns Arjuna?”
Pierre has given a great response to this question. At the same time, I wonder if it is possible that, based on the law of affinity, a tinge of preference remains even with the adepts. Unlike attachment, this force is stems from harmony.
Pierre Wouters March 17, 2017 at 6:34 pm #5192
in Peter’s reference to the ML, the Mahatma says:
“‘Until final emancipation reabsorbs the Ego, it must be conscious of the purest sympathies called out by the esthetic effects of high art, its tenderest cords respond to the call of the holier and nobler human attachments. Of course, the greater the progress towards deliverance, the less this will be the case, until, to crown all, human and purely individual personal feelings – blood-ties and friendship, patriotism and race predilection – all will give away, to become blended into one universal feeling, the only true and holy, the only unselfish and Eternal one – Love, an Immense Love for humanity – as a Whole!”
Your reference to Kamadeva in the Glossary is most helpful here as well.
As I understand it, I would think that in essence moksha and nirvana are the same, but… as moksha is a Hindu and nirvana a Buddhist expression, the terms will be explained along different philosophical lines, whereas with most people not immersed in the intricacies of Hinduism and Buddhism, they are used interchangeably without regard to philosophical and metaphysical differences.
Perhaps our friend Ramprakash (or anyone else) who is culturally speaking closer to those ideas can enlighten us better 🙂
Peter March 18, 2017 at 6:49 pm #5200
Barbara, the general meaning of nirvana and moksha is the same in so far as both terms refer to liberation or freedom from samsara along with the removal of ignorance with regards to the nature of Reality of the world and of the self.
As you know, the term nirvana tends to be used in Buddhist traditions while Hindu traditions tend to refer liberation as moksha. However, the exact meaning of the term moksha varies with the many different traditions in Hinduism, and even in Buddhism the understanding of nirvana may differ between Hinayana and Mahayana schools.
In theosophy the two terms appear to be used interchangeably when referring to the goal of ‘individual Liberation’.
Peter March 16, 2017 at 2:55 pm #5165
“Is it possible love another individual unconditionally yet still not become attached?”
Perhaps we can only start with small steps in our own lives and practice before we are able to answer this question in a meaningful way. A good start might be to learn to extend positive-regard to people and beings outside of our usual circle of loved ones, friends and those who share similar views to our own. To care about and feel concern for the welfare of other beings who are not in our usual circle is a further step. To care enough to want to do something to help is yet another. There may well be many stages of development in our caring for others, and we may yet still feel drawn more towards some beings than others as the circle of caring expands.
I worry a bit that strong definitions of terms like ‘unconditional love’, ’attachment’ and ‘impersonal’ might sometimes just box us in and get in the way of exploring what it actually means to care for another being or beings. We can say that attachment binds us, of course, but doesn’t love also bind, as does loyalty, a pledge or vow? If we truly care about other beings their welfare matters to us, whether it be that of one or of many. The extent of our caring is often reflected in the what we postpone, give up or go without to help another. The outcomes of our actions in caring for other beings also matter to us.
Some attachments and identifications might be very important for our development, particularly those related to high ideals or universal brotherhood. The transition from our identification and attachment to ‘me and mine’ towards one that is ‘us and all’ may well be a long a gradual one.
Below is a passage from the Mahatma KH in his letter to Sinnett which throws some light on this subject:
‘I hope that at least you will understand that we (or most of us) are far from being the heartless, morally dried up mummies some would fancy us to be. “Mejnoor” is very well, where he is – as an ideal character of a thrilling -– in many respects truthful story. Yet, believe me, few of us would care to play the part in life of a dessicated pansy between the leaves of a volume of solemn poetry. We may not be quite the “boys” – to quote Olcott’s irreverent expression when speaking of us – yet none of our degree are like the stern hero of Bulwer’s romance. While the facilities of observation secured to some of us by our condition certainly give a greater breadth of view, a more pronounced and impartial, as a more widely spread humaneness – for answering Addison, we might justly maintain that it is . . . “the business of ‘magic’ to humanise our natures with compassion” for the whole mankind as all living beings, instead of concentrating and limiting our affections to one predilected race – yet few of us (except such as have attained the final negation of Moksha) can so far enfranchise ourselves from the influence of our earthly connection as to be insusceptible in various degrees to the higher pleasures, emotions, and interests of the common run of humanity.
‘Until final emancipation reabsorbs the Ego , it must be conscious of the purest sympathies called out by the esthetic effects of high art, its tenderest cords respond to the call of the holier and nobler human attachments. Of course, the greater the progress towards deliverance, the less this will be the case, until, to crown all, human and purely individual personal feelings – blood-ties and friendship, patriotism and race predilection – all will give away, to become blended into one universal feeling, the only true and holy, the only unselfish and Eternal one – Love, an Immense Love for humanity – as a Whole ! For it is “Humanity” which is the great Orphan, the only disinherited one upon this earth, my friend. And it is the duty of every man who is capable of an unselfish impulse, to do something, however little, for its welfare. Poor, poor humanity! It reminds me of the old fable of the war between the Body and its members: here too, each limb of this huge “Orphan” – fatherless and motherless -– selfishly cares but for itself. The body uncared for suffers eternally, whether the limbs are at war or at rest. Its suffering and agony never cease. . . . And who can blame it – as your materialistic philosophers do – if, in this everlasting isolation and neglect it has evolved gods, unto whom “it ever cries for help but is not heard!” . . . Thus –
“Since there is hope for man only in man
I would not let one cry whom I could save! . . .”
‘Yet I confess that I, individually, am not yet exempt from some of the terrestrial attachments. I am still attracted toward some men more than toward others, and philanthropy as preached by our Great Patron – “the Saviour of the World – the Teacher of Nirvana and the Law . . . .” has never killed in me either individual preferences of friendship, love – for my next of kin, or the ardent feeling of patriotism for the country – in which I was last materially individualized.’
Mahatma Letters no. 8; Barker edition. (All one paragraph in original, but made into parts here for ease of reading.)
Grace Cunningham March 16, 2017 at 3:28 pm #5168
This comment as well as all the others are most appreciated by me. It seems to me now that it is a complicated question and that I am not alone in pondering it. It is wonderful to have the thoughts of the group to guide me here. So thank you. Maybe to remove all trace of attachment is to blow out the persona all together and that is a very high state of mind that will not come about until very far down the path of life. Another thought inspired by everyone’s kind hearted comments is the notion of loving Humanity per se. If we strive to devote ourselves to the betterment of Humanity as a whole we can only really do that if we strive to love those around us. Eventually the love we generate for those closest to us will extend out to the whole. I suppose the trick is to understand why and how we create limits on that love. Meditating on the Sun seems like a really good idea, I have Barb to thank for that one.
Peter March 17, 2017 at 2:42 pm #5190
Grace – yes, it is important for us to recognise we are not alone in pondering these questions, as you rightly say. To my mind, these questions are universal in nature; if we are not reflecting on them we probably need to ask, ‘why not?’
Following the teachings of Tsong Khapa, the Dalai Lama says that when practising the development of Impartiality, Love and Compassion (normally in that 3 stage order) it is better to start with individuals and then, over time, expand that to include more and more beings. If we practice generating these attitudes towards ‘all-beings’ to start with, we may feel we have developed these attitudes but find ourselves unable to actualise them when faced with the individuals in our lives. I’ve certainly experienced that in my own life – it sometimes feels easier to ‘love’ humanity as a whole than that ‘difficult’ individual I may meet every day.
Odin TownleyParticipantOdin Townley March 16, 2017 at 4:37 pm #5169
Indeed, Compassion, “the Law of Laws,” must have both individual and universal roots. “Desire first arose in IT” also gives the idea of “Divine Desire” the source root of individual desire which arises in us as reincarnating Egos. It seems we work from both ends to the middle, ideally, the central point which is “everywhere,” of a circle whose circumference is “nowhere.” (Pascal as quoted by HPB as her definition of Deity in the SD.) But also in the KEY: “…our Deity is the eternal, incessantly evolving, not creating, builder of the universe; that universe itself unfolding out of its own essence, not being made. It is a sphere, without circumference, in its symbolism, which has but one ever-acting attribute embracing all other existing or thinkable attributes — ITSELF. It is the one law, giving the impulse to manifested, eternal, and immutable laws, within that never-manifesting, because absolute LAW, which in its manifesting periods is The ever-Becoming.”
Refer also to the Glossary “Kamadeva:” Kama is the first conscious, all embracing desire for universal good, love, and for all that lives and feels, needs help and kindness, the first feeling of infinite tender compassion and mercy that arose in the consciousness of the creative ONE Force, as soon as it came into life and being as a ray from the ABSOLUTE. Says the Rig Veda, “Desire first arose in IT, which was the primal germ of mind, and which Sages, searching with their intellect, have discovered in their heart to be the bond which connects Entity with non-Entity”, or Manas with pure Atma-Buddhi. There is no idea of sexual love in the conception. Kama is pre-eminently the divine desire of creating happiness and love; and it is only ages later, as mankind began to materialize by anthropomorphization its grandest ideals into cut and dried dogmas, that Kama became the power that gratifies desire on the animal plane.
barbara March 17, 2017 at 5:29 am #5179
“Refer also to the Glossary “Kamadeva:” Kama is the first conscious, all embracing desire for universal good, love, and for all that lives and feels, needs help and kindness, the first feeling of infinite tender compassion and mercy that arose in the consciousness of the creative ONE Force, as soon as it came into life and being as a ray from the ABSOLUTE.”
I wonder if it is correct to view karma, one of the cosmic forces, manifesting differently on different planes; on the spiritual level as divine consciousness, on the astral, desire and passion, and on the physical, chemical cohesion and attraction.
Peter March 17, 2017 at 1:04 pm #5189
That’s a really nice way of putting it, Odin:
‘Compassion…must have individual and universal roots. . . we work from both ends to the middle, ideally, the central point which is “everywhere,” of a circle whose circumference is “nowhere.”’
I think you’ve given us another way to appreciate the Middle Way of the Buddha, avoiding the extremes of either individualism or universalism.
Pierre Wouters March 16, 2017 at 5:29 pm #5170
Nice reply Peter, as those of others.
“I worry a bit that strong definitions of terms like ‘unconditional love’, ’attachment’ and ‘impersonal’ might sometimes just box us in and get in the way of exploring what it actually means to care for another being or beings.”
Indeed, the definitions we give to such terms are often interpreted in the extreme, “just box us in” as you say. Here we have again a good example of not getting stuck in words, but see everything in the world as a process, and a process has without exceptions degrees. We see this in your own statement “There may well be many stages of development in our caring for others” and the wonderful reference from the Mahatma letter where the Mahatma points to degrees of adepts “none of our degree are like the stern hero of Bulwer’s romance” and “few of us (except such as have attained the final negation of Moksha) can so far enfranchise ourselves from the influence of our earthly connection as to be insusceptible in various degrees to the higher pleasures, emotions, and interests of the common run of humanity.” and “the greater the progress towards deliverance, the less this will be the case”
I would think that it is the strength and direction of the motive that gives rise to the “boundless” degrees that exist within such terms as “unconditional”, “attachment” and “impersonal”.
barbara March 17, 2017 at 5:22 am #5177
Yes, Peter, I agree we can only start with small steps. In our life experience, we invariably feel more drawn to some people than others and, perhaps, it is due to the element of karma, or affinity, or attraction, or compatibility, or lessons to be learned. The process of our ego including the larger whole, or widening our circumference, is gradual. Yet, I wonder if there is still another step of development after the transition from the I to the we, which is, the consciousness of the “One Life.” In the “we” consciousness, we still can view ourselves as separate individuals, part of the whole, while in the consciousness of the “One Life”, the perceiver identifies with the “One” seeing manifestation of the “One” all around. It seems that in this state of awareness, personal attachment fades because there is only a dim sense of personal self.
- This reply was modified 3 years, 6 months ago by barbara.
Peter March 18, 2017 at 5:08 pm #5193
Barbara (re #5177) – that’s a very interesting and important question. Just to check that I properly understand you – are you talking about two conditions above: one where we experience ourselves as an individual that is a part of the whole; the other where we are conscious of the ‘One Life’ and the sense of individuality is attenuated?
One might also ask is separateness a fact in life, or is it ‘merely’ a state of mind, cognition or belief? If it is latter in some form, once that ‘cognition/belief’ is corrected is it then a possible to retain a sense of individuality that is non-separate from the whole?
barbara March 19, 2017 at 2:40 am #5201
Yes, Peter. I am thinking about the two different states of consciousness, one the collective and the other the Unity. An example of the former is when we work together with a group of people where there could be such a strong feeling of “brotherhood.” I used to discuss often at work about the importance of teamwork, how we all need to contribute to meet our objectives, how we need to shift our focus from away from our personal, how there could be no success without teamwork, and how the team spirit binds us into a cohesive whole.
We can expand this scenario to include the larger segments of society till eventually to include all of humanity. Albeit this state of collaboration and synergy is much needed and lofty , but it still retains the sense of individuality as part of the larger whole; in short, there is still a sense of the subject and the object. In the other state of consciousness, that of the “One Life,” the demarcation between the perceiver and the perceived almost dissolves, only awareness of the “One” manifesting in all forms remains. Our states of mind determines our perception or “reality” and the shift from the “I” to the “we” to the “One” is very similar to the stages in contemplation
Going back to the week’s discussion on attachment, the less a sense of “separate self” we retain, the less we are able to attach. I think we need to recognize there is a distinction between human warmth/fondness (human kindness) and attachment. One does not necessitate the other. The awareness of the “One Life” is the state I was describing when using the analogy of the sun giving light to all without any partiality. The sun naturally radiates warmth to all and it cannot do otherwise because this is its essence.
Ramprakash ML March 19, 2017 at 10:31 am #5204
It is only deep study of the Esoteric Philosophy which gives us an intuitive glimpse of inseparableness of earthly man from Heavenly Man, the Sephiroth, and his Self to be ultimately Parabrahm, develops in the student a strong sense of non-separateness and a devotion to humanity above all caste, creedal and racial distinctions, even though he lives with the notion of separateness in practical everyday life. It also develops in the student the virtue of charity, unrevengefulness, forgiveness, and a certain degree of dispassion.
It is a progressive inner evolution from individuality to Unity of SELF, from Vyashti to Samashti, as they say in Vedanta.
ModeratorTN March 17, 2017 at 7:11 am #5182
March 16, 2017 Theme for Contemplation: Nature, Woman and Man
Will creates intelligently; Desire blindly and unconsciously. — Aquarian Axiom
Harmony does not come through likeness. Harmony comes from a balancing of
diversities, and discord from any effort to make harmony by force.
— W. Q. JUDGE
ModeratorTN March 17, 2017 at 7:14 am #5184
March 17, 2017 Theme for Contemplation: Nature, Woman and Man
And all real unity commences
In consciousness of differences
That all have wants to satisfy
And each a power to supply.
— W. H. AUDEN
Oh, sacred be the flesh and blood
To which she links a truth divine!
— ALFRED, LORD TENNYSON
Ramprakash ML March 19, 2017 at 10:18 am #5202
Pierre, you are right. The terms Nirvana and Moksha are interchangeable. They virutally mean the same–as far as my understanding goes.
I doubt the correctness statement that Nirvana is a Buddhist term. I think both are used in Hinduism even before the Sakhyamuni appeared on the scene.
For instance, the last verse on the 2nd chapter of the Bhagavadgita the word “Brahma Nirvana” is used. It reads in Sanskrit:
“Eshaa Braahmee sthithih paartha nynaam praapya vimuhyati
sthitvaa asyaam anta kaale api BRAHMANIRVAANAM ritchchati
It looks like two stage development are spoken of here : 1. Braahmi Sthith ; and 2. Brahmanirvana
First is entering the state of Brahmaa. It must be apara-Brahma, ie., consciously entering manifested One Life, the Heavenly Man. Saguna-Brahma. The second step thereafter is Brahmanirvana, which seems to be the state of Nirguna or parabrahma.
Bhagavata Purana speaks of five progressive stages of Mukti : saalokya, saarshtri, saameepya, saaroopya, and finally saayujya, the highest.
Krishna speaks of even the one higher than the last mentioned : Rejection of it to remain behind to serve all creatures. This, it is taught, is the highest Bhakti–Devotion.
Nirvana seems to have the etymological root, Niraavarana – all veils or coverings (aavarana) cast aside.
- This reply was modified 3 years, 6 months ago by Ramprakash ML.
Gerry KiffeModeratorGerry Kiffe March 19, 2017 at 4:48 pm #5206
Dear Fellow Students;
I have a strong desire to express my gratitude to everyone who has participated in this particular discussion. Since the UT and TN was started over 3 years ago I don’t think we have had too many discussions that has had the quality of this one. What I find impressive is that we have seen sincere questioning lead to the effort to discover metaphysical foundations. Additionally we have seen an effort to gain philosophical clarity on key ideas combined with with down to earth practical suggestions on how to deal with the immense challenge of self-transformation. It is inspiring to see this dialectical activity of moving from above below, from the abstract to the concrete work out in our communications. In the end theosophical ideas, if properly understood I believe, are revolutionary and transformative. I think it is important that no matter how abstract or how high we fly with these great ideas we are given we have an obligation to explore their relevance to the human condition and to our lives. I think if we do this sincerely we will find many more adherents to theosophy. Because in the end The Philosophy should be able to solve all the problems confronting our fellow man.
barbara March 20, 2017 at 1:39 am #5211
First, I want to thank you for all your untiring efforts to spread and promote Theosophy. Your labor has not gone unnoticed; it is much appreciated.
I concur that discussions are meaningful when we relate them into our everyday life. To bring the abstract down to the concrete and to lift it back up to the sublime is one of the greatest quests in our study.
Peter March 19, 2017 at 5:41 pm #5207
Ram, just to support your view on the origins of the term – In the Oxford Dictionary of World Religion under the term Nirvana we find ‘According to S.K. Belvalkar, the term [nirvana] originated in the Kāla philosophy before the advent of Buddhism.’ The entry goes on cite references in Mahabharata, the Anugita and Bhagavad Gita.
As I understand it, the terms nirvana and moksha appear to be interchangeable when used by a Hindu, though Moksha appears to be the more common term. Each tradition (Buddhism and Hinduism) appears to have a preference for using one term over the other. The term ‘nirvana’ (from the verb root vā = ‘to blow’ + nir = ‘out’) perhaps has a closer meaning to buddhist philosophy than moksha (from the root moksh = to liberate)*.
Perhaps the most significant thing is that whichever term is used, the Buddhist understanding as to what constitutes nirvana/moksha is different to that of the Hindu. That’s because their respective understandings of the nature of Reality and the nature of ‘the Self’ differ quite radically.
Even within Hinduism what actually constitutes nirvana/moksha varies according to different views held by various traditions as to god and the ultimate nature of the self. For example, liberation for the Advaitee involves the direct recognition that s/he is not other than Brahman, while Liberation for the Dwaitee is a state of release in which the individual jivatman remains separate Brahman; and from the Samkhya perspective Liberation arises when as a result of discrimination the individual purusha realises its nature as pure consciousness separate from matter (prakriti) – the latter including buddhi, manas, the organs of cognition and action & so on.
As mentioned before, when referring to the path and goal of individual liberation the two terms are interchangeable in Theosophy.
*note: translation from Grimes ‘A Concise Dictionary of Indian Philosophy.’)
- This reply was modified 3 years, 6 months ago by Peter.
Ramprakash ML March 20, 2017 at 6:34 am #5212
One more term is often used in Hindu scriptures. It is KEVALAM.
In Patanjali Yoga Sutras this term
appears. The last (4th) chapter, we know, is called Kaivalya paada.
The term Kevala or Kaivalya is translated by Mr Judge as Isolation. Isolation of the soul.
Literal meaning of it is indeed that as well as the philosophical one.
Lexigographc meanings given are : Peculiar, exclusive, uncommon, alone, mere, sole, only, isolated, whole, entire, absolute, perfect, bare, uncovered, pure, simple, unmingled, unattached (by anything else).
Kevali is one who has attained
to the state of perfection the term represents. Jain Arhats are referred
to as Kevalis. The term Is used
much in Jain philosophy and mysticism.
Isolation of the Soul–Kaivalya–virtually means Mukti or Nirvana or Nih-aavarana (Niraavarana)
“When the six are slain and at the Master’s feet are laid, then is the pupil merged into the one, becomes that one, and lives therein.” (Voice — not verbatim but as remembered) This should be Kaivalya.
It is used in Bhagavadgita. Not able to find it right now.